Never Give Up: Dr. Kati Karikó and the Race for the Future of Vaccines

Millbrook. Mar. 2023. 40p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781728456331.
Gr 2-6–Katalin “Kati” Karikó became fascinated with science from a young age. Born in 1955 and raised in Hungary, she grew up on a farm where she was often curious about life and what comprised it. At school, her thirst for knowledge only increased as she learned about cells and saw them under a microscope. Not surprisingly, Karikó grew up to work in a lab where she was interested in mRNA, a part of DNA that is useful when illness strikes. Sure she could find a way to train cells to cure illness, Karikó persevered despite her colleagues’ doubts. To learn more, she moved to the United States where she lost one job and was demoted in another because she simply would not give up on her idea. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a fellow doctor of infectious diseases, is quoted as saying, “She was, in a positive sense, kind of obsessed with the concept of messenger RNA. It’s going to be transforming.” It wasn’t until Karikó met another scientist that things changed. By working together, Karikó and Drew Weissman came up with a breakthrough that led to the founding of Moderna and was key to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine at Pfizer. Bright, beautiful illustrations are rendered in pencil and finished digitally. Back matter includes a time line, glossary, resources, and more.
VERDICT Informative as well as inspiring, this book shows how Karikó’s tenacity is proof to never give up. A first purchase for all biography collections.

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